Reduction of vulnerability

Economic measures

Registering births and marriages

Reduction of gender-based violence

There are several economic conditions that can make someone vulnerable to trafficking, including systemic poverty, economic inequality (wage inequality, lack of decent jobs, supply chain exploitation, labour binding agreements, child labour), and unjust land reform (resource grabbing, food insecurity, mechanization of agriculture). Those conditions need to be addressed by States in order to provide for economic empowerment and long term economic sustainability among vulnerable populations. The Trafficking in Persons Protocol Article 9(4) requires States to propose measures to address the economic conditions that make persons vulnerable to trafficking. The measures proposed below are categorised according to the country of origin, destination and both.

Country of origin

States should aim to increase socio-economic stability and apply measures to reduce acute poverty. In doing so States should promote both economic development and social inclusion, especially creating job opportunities for women.

Proposed employment programs should provide for equal access to the labour market for all.

States can facilitate business opportunities for new, small- and medium-sized businesses by providing training courses on business development and small loans for emerging business.

In developing or strengthening economic empowerment it is recommended that States engage with international organizations, non-governmental organizations and other States.



Country of destination

States should take measures to address the unseen exploitation of victims on their territory through administrative controls, information collection on the labour markets, and investigation of other places where exploitation can occur.

Consider opening labour markets in order to increase employment opportunities for foreign workers with a wide range of skills sets.

In order to address the economic vulnerability of informal or illegal migrant workers, States should consider opening channels for regular migration, while striking a balance between inexpensive labour and providing employment opportunities for workers in their home country.

States should investigate and take measures against illegal, exploitative economic activities which undermine economies and enhance trafficking in persons.



Countries of origin and destination

States should take measures to improve social protection and to create employment opportunities for all.

States should take appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the field of employment (introducing the right to equal pay for equal work, and the right to equality in employment opportunities). Domestic laws and policies should allow women equal access to and control over economic and financial resources.

States should address all forms of discrimination against minorities.

States should allow for easy access to loans and credit with low interest rates for new and small businesses.

Transparency in all economic transactions domestically and internationally can help to prevent mismanagement of finances, bribery and any other financial abuses that facilitate trafficking.



Birth registration is the official recording by the State of the occurrence and characteristics of a child’s birth, resulting in the creation of a permanent record and the issuance of a birth certificate. It has the effect of essentially establishing a child’s legal identity (e.g. their name and date and place of birth). A child’s right to birth registration – and States’ responsibility to register every birth that occurs on their territory without discrimination – is enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights among others.

Birth registration can play an important role in preventing trafficking in persons and protecting victims. In the context of prevention, individuals without a legal identity and formal trace of their existence are more vulnerable to being trafficked because traffickers seek victims who are less likely to be missed. Therefore, birth registration can reduce this risk factor, especially among children. Similarly, birth registration provides formal evidence of a person’s age, which is essential for determining their protection needs, and who their parents are, which facilitates family reunification.

States should take steps to ensure that all births that occur in their territory are registered immediately or as soon as practicable after birth. This includes creating incentives and raising awareness for parents to register a birth promptly, linking birth registration with maternal and neonatal health services, and addressing potential barriers, such as fees and distance to the nearest registration point. In addition, States should make special effort to identify and reduce gaps and barriers experienced by vulnerable populations, such as refugees and stateless persons.

Similarly, States should take measures to provide for compulsory registration of marriages. Such records will require verification of bride/groom identity and age, which can prevent minors (children) from being moved across borders and being married without their explicit consent.



India has a Life Skills Education Programme to empower girls to prioritize education and prevent child marriage. India also has a special deposit scheme for girl children to counter dowry practice and back up their education. The Sukanya Samriddhi Account provides the highest interest rate for a savings account (8.6% for the financial year of 2016-17).

Bangladesh’s joint project with the World Bank led to delays in marriage age. The Second Female Secondary School Assistance Project promoted education by providing free tuition and stipend to unmarried girls.

Gender-based violence originates from gender discrimination, prejudice and biases. It appears in various forms, such as abuse, harassment, threats, coercion, restriction on movement and liberty, economic deprivation, child marriage, domestic violence, female genital mutilation and trafficking in persons. Preventive measures include public awareness campaigns against gender discrimination and practices that accompany it, behaviour and attitude modification programs, elimination of discriminatory customary laws, criminalizing all forms of gender-based violence, promoting gender equality and empowerment of women.

Awareness raising and discouraging demand

Information campaigns

Discouraging demand among the public

Developing information campaigns to reduce trafficking in persons crime and increase social awareness is an integral part of any trafficking prevention policies. States should ensure that conducting information campaigns is included in their national action plans, and that adequate resources are allocated for their implementation. Government agencies that undertake such initiatives should do research to formulate a clear goal for the campaign and message, methods to evaluate and measure its effectiveness, and identify recipients of that message. Steps on how to build an effective information campaign and examples of effective campaigns can be found below.




States are required by Article 9(5) of the Trafficking in Persons Protocol to undertake activities that will reduce demand that drives exploitation of victims. Generally, States are provided with flexibility on how to enact that provision. States can introduce legislative or policy measures that will address both the demand and the supply chains. ‘Supply’ refers to the place of origin of victims, victims’ vulnerability and legislative gaps that facilitate the crime. The ‘demand’ refers to the place of destination in need of cheap labour and services, which lead to exploitation. Between the demand and supply chains there are countries of transit, whose administrative and border weakness are taken advantage of by traffickers to move and exploit victims.

To effectively discourage demand in the countries of origin and destination, States could conduct mass media information campaigns to inform consumers of exploitation that is occurring and how to avoid buying products or using services provided by victims. In countries of destination, States could provide information about migrants’ rights and on which industries, recruitment agencies or employers should be avoided. Engagement with private local business and corporate entities can often increase social responsibility and enhance the outreach of a preventive initiative.



Education, research and monitoring

Education and training for most vulnerable populations

Research and data collection, conducting risk assessments and monitoring

Developing a comprehensive regional understanding and approach to trafficking

States can make certain populations less vulnerable to trafficking through educational measures, in compliance with Article 9(2) and (5) of the Trafficking in Persons Protocol.

Educating children is a very effective way to reduce their vulnerability to trafficking as adults. Through education children gain tools to provide for themselves in the future. It is very important to ensure that girls and other marginalized children (children of asylum seekers, refugees, and stateless children) have the same opportunity and access to education. Providing equal access to education is also required by the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 28). States can consider such measures as: raising the age to which it is compulsory for children to attend school; adding the topic of trafficking in persons into curricula, for example providing children with information about trafficking, or introducing programs to develop special skills that will help them avoid being trafficked.

Continuing with higher education, States can fund more research opportunities for students in public institutions to study trafficking in persons in a country context, and to raise awareness of this problem among youth. States can consider partnering with schools, universities and research institutes to maximize the benefits.

States can further engage and partner with non-governmental and international organizations to collect data and conduct research aimed at increasing effectiveness, reducing costs, increasing accuracy, creating standard formats for databases, and enhancing cooperation and information sharing among relevant stakeholders.

States can also consider introducing educational training programs for adults in some of the most vulnerable groups – aspiring migrants, ethnic minorities, disabled people, etc. – that will provide not only information about the risk of trafficking but could also include basic education, professional skills training, or orientation programs.



Collection of data, research, and analysis is integral in developing comprehensive prevention measures that address existing trends of trafficking, and is also required by the Article 9 of the Trafficking in Persons Protocol. Without identifying which measures are working and which are less effective, it is difficult to combat trafficking in persons effectively without resources being wasted. To build evidence-based measures and preventive programs, States should introduce data-collection and data-gathering mechanisms among relevant government agencies. Ethical collection of data and privacy principles (confidentiality) should be considered during the process. Sharing information in a systematic way is an important factor that requires a great level of cooperation among relevant agencies and other relevant stakeholders.

Monitoring of prevention measures and evaluating the impact of projects and programs (including information campaigns) is equally important. This involves collecting information through available channels about the progress of any given initiative, analyzing information including financial reports, and responding to changing dynamics with appropriate action to ensure set goals can be achieved.

States can also conduct regular monitoring and evaluation activities among vulnerable populations to track changes in the social and economic environment that affect their livelihood and economic opportunities, or to determine the effectiveness of existing preventive measures.


To address trafficking in persons in an organized, comprehensive and effective manner it is crucial that States share one common understanding of the crime in the region and its full complexity, including patterns of trafficking, modus operandi of criminal groups, established methods of identifying and protecting victims and prosecuting the crime. Understanding of the issue will allow States to develop a regional approach(es) based on the principle of partnership, cooperation and information sharing that will increase counter-trafficking measures’ impact and reduce duplication. In order to do so States not only are encouraged to increase bilateral State-to-State cooperation but to engage on multilateral levels through various fora and platforms, like the Bali Process.


Administrative and border controls

Strengthening national borders

Security and validity of identity documents

Proactive measures

Criminal networks constantly seek to exploit gaps and weakness in migration and border management systems. States recognize the importance of controlling national borders as a way to interrupt traffickers’ activities and combat trafficking in persons. The Trafficking in Persons Protocol outlines several policy measures States can introduce to reduce the numbers of victims being moved across national borders. Some of the measures include: investing in technical capacity building of border control agencies, increasing information sharing among relevant domestic agencies and States, and improving detection and examination systems for identity documents.


Articles 12 and 13 of the Trafficking in Persons Protocol provide for States to ensure legitimacy and quality of travel documents and call for preventing the unlawful creation of such documents. States are encouraged to introduce documents that are difficult to falsify, forge or alter; to ensure the secure production of such documents, and methods to detect forged documents. In addition, States should train border officials, consular stuff, travel agents and others who come in contact with travel documents to verify their authenticity.


  • Curriculum on Standardized Induction Training for Frontline Border Officials, Bali Process, 2015 (please contact for this publication)
  • Quick Reference Guide for Frontline Border Officials, Bali Process, 2015 (please contact for this publication)



There are specific sectors within the economic and social space that can directly affect the trafficking situation, either by facilitating supply or creating demand. States should consider: introducing measures to prevent operation of illegal recruitment agencies and/or abusive recruitment practices; address the issue of corrupt officials; consider extra measures to prevent vulnerable populations from taking desperate and risky decisions (see Information campaigns); improve safe and regular labour migration opportunities and provide measures for better labour control methods (see Reduction of vulnerability); and institute legislative or policy measures to monitor and issue operating licenses for tourist companies, au-pair agencies, and bridal or adoption agencies.


Preparedness for natural disasters, humanitarian emergencies and conflicts

The Asia-Pacific region is the most disaster-prone region in the world. In the period 2003–2012, it accounted for 43 percent of the world’s disasters and 81 percent of the people affected.  Armed conflicts, climate change and humanitarian disasters intensify pre-existing exposure to risks, threats, abuse and exploitation for migrants, displaced people, vulnerable groups or individuals. States should incorporate prevention and specific anti-trafficking measures in policies and disaster management plans. For example, first responders from relevant government agencies and humanitarian agencies should be trained to recognize risks and identify potential victims of trafficking.


Capacity-building programs for law enforcement, judiciary, immigration officers and consular staff

To prevent exploitation of victims and to protect victims from being re-trafficked, States should ensure that government authorities and first-responders receive appropriate training to enhance their capacity to effectively carry out their responsibilities under existing counter-trafficking policies.  Practitioners from the counter-trafficking field should be equipped with the most up-to-date methods of identifying victims and assistance programs that lead to victims’ recovery, protection during the judicial process (when applicable), and the latest information that allows for effective disruption of trafficking crime before victims are exploited.